Posted October 31, 2004 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News


It’s amazing. The chile pepper experience has the same “side effects” as falling in love.

– Heated passion
– How much and the kind of chile your heartthrob prefers may determine the success of your relationship.
– Cupid
– A 1940s Romantic Valentine’s Day dinner
– Email a chile kiss
– The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Rub – it’s not what you think

SMOOOOOCH(ITALICS)! Happy Valentine’s Day chile lovers! This holiday is an especially heated one for chile aficionados. Our kisses are hotter, our hearts burn with chile desire and our romantic dinners are downright feverish -and we don’t even need a date!

Valentines Day isn’t all about chocolate; it’s about heat – chile heat. There’s a clear similarity between the chile pepper experience and falling in love. We swoon and get goose-bumpy over the voluptuous and heated chile pod that causes our brows to perspire and eyes to weep. Currying favor or articulating our devotion means not a gift of chocolate rather a presentation of the passionate chile pod.

The pod one selects for a Valentine paramour is contingent on how well you know the person. Do they like it hot and green or hot and red? Or do they have mood swings – some days they may prefer hot and red, but some days, the green and mild. Do they prefer chile as a sauce or as a paste? Is chile a part of their every day life or is it just a once a week, or a once a month thing? Yes, one can tell a lot about a heartthrob just by the chile they prefer and how often they need it. For example, I need it “hot” every day; but my husband “medium,” he’s a twice a week person – but that’s just between you and me.

Personality and career choice are also important indicators of the type of chile one fancies. (Who needs Meyers-Briggs when you’ve got the Chile Rush Test?) I myself adore “hot” – whether it is red or green. It’s a reflection of my frolicsome, impulsive, and yes, even flirtatious nature. I can bat my eyes just as I did 20 years ago, (the response is somewhat different however than it was during from my thick, auburn hair days). And although I consider myself a food and history writer, I’m not chained to those topics.

My husband, on the other hand, has a rather subdued and serious side. Ed’s schedule rarely changes day to day. He studies charts, numbers and equations and holds the same ho-hum office hours each week. He comes home from work about the same time every evening, and weekends are reserved for sports in the morning and more computer work in the afternoon. But on occasion he has moments of spontaneity – like the time he asked me to go hiking while I was frantically trying to make a deadline. Ed is unmistakably a medium green chilehead…his defense being that he’s “a nerd – aren’t all engineers?” But I wouldn’t know for sure – I’ve never shared a chile with another engineer.

Cupid, the most famous of Valentine symbols, is known as a mischievous, winged
child armed with bow and arrows. He finds his mark in the heart of men who then fall hopelessly in love. Perhaps we could convince Cupid to shoot his arrows into the hearts of chile Cheechakos (inexperienced and wary chile chompers).

The traditional Valentine’s Day supper in the 1940s was consommé, heart-shaped croutons, Chicken ‘a la king, heart-shaped toast, green peas, raw vegetable salad with radishes and carrots cut into shapes of hearts and arrows, rolls, cherry sherbet, heart-shaped cookies and punch. [The New American Etiquette, Books, Inc., 1941].


THE ULTIMATE VALENTINE RUB (It’s not what you think)
Dry rub is a mixture of spices and chile, which is applied to meat, poultry, fish or vegetables before smoking or barbecuing. I suggest using this dry rub recipe on plump pieces of chicken breasts or butterfly pork chops to complement your hot date.

4 T Cumin
2 T Salt
4 T Thyme
2 T Curry Powder
4 T Garlic powder
1 T Onion Powder
4 T Black Pepper, freshly ground

In a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine ingredients. Stir or shake to mix. Use immediately or store in a cool, dark place for several months. Rub the spice mix into the meat and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before barbecuing.

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 T cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T New Mexico red chile pepper, ground
1/2 tsp. hot habanero sauce
1/2-cup butter (or margarine), cut into pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
Raspberry preserves
2 eggs, beaten

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add habanero sauce, butter, and cheese. Using clean hands, shape mixture into a ball. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about one hour or until well chilled. On floured surface rollout dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter (about 3 1/4 x 2 1/2-inches) or a chile pod shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes. Place 1 teaspoon of raspberry preserves in center of half of the cookies. Brush edges with beaten egg and cover with another heart (or chile pod). With a fork, gently press edges together. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with a thin coating of beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cool.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog